Before an expert witness can be admitted to court 法庭專家證人 to make a testimony, he should be able to demonstrate his authority in his area of expertise. He must establish his expertise by his years of experience or practice in the field, and years of training and education to hone his knowledge base.
Legal Duties of an Expert Witness
Expert witnesses are required by the court to uphold certain standards when giving their testimony before the judge or jury. These standards can be summarized into the following legal duties.
An expert must be truthful at all times. The court is relying on an expert’s opinion to determine whether a certain piece of evidence can be admissible in court, or whether or not the plaintiff can be entitled to compensation.
An expert must be objective at all times. He must not favor any of the parties (defendant and plaintiff). He must answer all the questions asked of him without bias and subjectivity.
Guidelines for Expert Witnesses in Court Proceedings
The court takes the above-mentioned legal duties seriously. Many expert witness’s testimonies were labeled inadmissible because the court doubted the expert’s truthfulness and/or objectivity.
So if you are testifying in court as an expert witness in the next few days, here are some guidelines to heed for an effective testimony.
1. Make sure that your tone/voice is not argumentative.
Remember, you are summoned to help the court understand a technical concept. Let the lawyers take care of the arguments. Your job is to find a way to explain a difficult concept in the simplest possible manner.
2. Give your expert opinion and reasoning (or basis) for each in a detailed report.
Your opinion should be backed by facts, tests, or experiments that you did. All these should be clearly stated and detailed in a report. Also, you must not forget to attach relevant documents that can support your opinion.
3. Stay within your area of expertise.
There are some questions that may fall out of your area of expertise. Sometimes, these questions are tricky and might compromise your reputation or expertise. So if you are asked questions outside of your expertise, it’s best not to answer them.
Above all, you should be honest. Answer all questions thrown at you, sticking to your line of expertise. After all, you are obligated to assist the court to come up with the best resolution for a dispute.